As parents, we only want the best for our children, so we work hard to be able to provide for them. The irony is, working longer hours means spending less time with them, which could lead to parental neglect when you leave your young child at home without a guardian. If only there was a way to work AND care for your child at the same time, without driving yourself crazy!
Well, Team Expat is here to tell you that it’s entirely possible. Depending on what you can afford, you can hire freelancers or send your child to centres for childcare. There are various types of childcare options, but they all basically mean the same thing: Someone to care for and supervise your child or children, usually between the ages of 6 weeks to 13 years.
Contrary to popular belief, sending your child to a childcare centre/day care/pre-school or hiring help doesn’t mean that a child would be growing up with less love than when he or she is cared for solely by their parent(s). If anything, it means more love from different parties, and quality care from a young age can have a positive impact on their future, such as getting a head start on learning how to read and write. Long story short, it all comes down to how you handle your child’s childcare—do you let your child’s caretaker do the bulk of parenting or you merely let them assist you?
Childcare in Singapore: How Much Does It Cost?
Now that you are aware of the option for childcare, let’s look at the costs. There are 3 types of childcare available to you in Singapore, which are:
Pre-school or Childcare centres
Depending on whether you opt for a full-day or half-day childcare programme and how young your child is, the average cost of full-day infant childcare is about SGD 1.5k a month.
Babysitters or Nannies
There are freelance babysitters and nannies and there are live-in nannies (usually foreign workers). Freelancers can cost up to SGD 900 a month while live-in nannies can start from as low as SGD 1.5k a month.
Working at a child-friendly office or co-working space
Rates depending on your working arrangement—if your company is working in an office where brings your own children is allowed or if there’s a playpen in it, then you’re basically paying nothing extra. Otherwise, you may have to pay for the cost of working in a co-working space.
I’m Ready For Childcare! If I Select [X], What Are My Options?
Pre-School or Childcare Centres
The most popular option for expat parents; this is your go-to option if you’re working full-time as it gives you the best value for your money. Usually, childcare centres come with an education component, so that your child will get to grow intellectually as well, which should be something you want to consider when deciding where to send your son or daughter to.
Premium Childcare Centres
A popular premium childcare centre would be Montessori. If you want your child to learn independence, self-control, and leadership skills, then this is the way to go. Some of Singapore’s best-known Montessori schools are Brighton Montessori, Greentree Montessori, House on the Hill Montessori Pre-School, and Raffles Montessori Kindergarten.
NTUC First Campus
Since 1977, NTUC First Campus has been providing quality and affordable early childhood care and education services to Singapore families. NTUC First Campus offers pre-schools, student care, and a training institute: My First Skool, The Little Skool-House International, The Caterpillar’s Cove, after school by NTUC First Campus, and SEED Institute. For more information, click on the respective links or here.
If you prefer a more religion-based education for your child, you might want to consider sending your child to a church. Some churches in Singapore offer affordable childcare services, and you don’t need to be a Christian to enrol your children. Click on this link to see a list of kindergartens and childcare centres endorsed by The Diocese of Singapore.
Childcare Centres run by Anchor Operators (AOPs)
Another popular pre-school brand is Skool4Kidz, a consortium formed by Kinderland Educare Service. Described as one of the few new anchor operators appointed by the Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA), Skool4Kidz offers years of experience with nurturing and educating young children in Singapore and affordable fees (below SGD 720 a month). With over 8 different branches, and a new mega childcare branch to be opened by the middle of 2016 in Yishun, Skool4Kidz should definitely be on your list for consideration.
The Early Childhood Development Agency (ECDA) by the Singapore Government has a lot of useful information about choosing a childcare centre for your child and you can even locate a childcare centre that fits your needs.
Babysitters or Nannies
For more personalised care for your children, you can’t get any better than hiring a babysitter or a nanny or a governess. However, finding the right person is not as easy as it sounds as it takes a great deal of trust to be able to let a complete stranger into your home to watch your child, much less feed and clothe him or her. It’s always best to employ the help of a relative, but then again, if you had relatives with free time to accompany you when you relocate to Singapore, childcare wouldn’t have been a problem in the first place, wouldn’t it?
Other factors of consideration include how would like the babysitter or nanny to care for child—if you’re a single parent then you might want a live-in nanny to help out at all hours; the length of time of care—maybe you just need someone to watch your child while you attend your company’s annual dinner or leave for an overnight trip; and where you want your babysitter or nanny to care for your child—if you’re uncomfortable with them being in your home, you might want to drop your child off at their house before you head to work.
Here are some useful links for finding a babysitter or nanny:
Working At A Child-Friendly Office or Co-Working Space
If you’re an expat with a freelance job or the option to work remotely, you may want to consider Trehaus. Marketed as Singapore’s first co-working space complete with childcare and learning amenities, now you can work, play you’re your child and network with parents in similar situations—all in the same place! According to founders Rachel Teo, Elizabeth Wu, Elaine Kim and Tjin Lee, the idea behind Trehaus is to allow parents to be able to pursue their careers and make something for themselves while looking after their children.
Compared to Montessori schools, where a teacher might guide the child toward an answer, Trehaus employs a more Reggio-Emilia approach, where the teacher encourages the child to “find out together”. Trehaus lets you pick up a day pass for 1-day access at SGD 50 a day or choose from one of their membership packages starting from SGD 350 a month. You’d be interested to know that we’ve seen a father reading to his daughter on a sofa as he waits for his clients to arrive for their meeting at one of the private meeting rooms at Trehaus and a few parents sharing working experiences over coffee outside on the sunny deck—just to name some of the amenities you’ll be paying for.
Childcare may be expensive, but it’s a cost worth paying, especially if it buys you much-needed time. Need more help in finding the right childcare? Get in touch with one of our resident experts here or leave a comment below!
Cover Photo by http://familieswork.co.uk